Oh, My, Goodness! Dallas Outlasts Washington 27-24 (OT)


Thank you, football Jesus

The rivalry dragged the Cowboys and Redskins into the mud, and got them good and dirty.

An erratic see-saw game saw Dallas take a 10-0 lead, fall behind 17-10, storm back to take a 24-17 lead, then saw Washington tie the game on a Rex Grossman to Jabar Gaffney face in the final seconds of regulation.

In overtime, the Cowboys defense buckled, then benefited from Redskins kicker Graham Gano’s second miss of the day.  His 52 yard attempt failed to hook and sailed wide of the right upright.  Dallas took the great position and converted two first downs.   The first, to Martellus Bennett, shoved Dallas into Washington territory.  The second, an improvised Tony Romo spin and sling to Dez Bryant moved the Cowboys inside the Redskins 25.  Two DeMarco Murray runs set up Dan Bailey, who converted his 24th consecutive attempt — just barely.  The kick from the left hash kept drifting right but it stayed on the right side of the right upright, sending the Cowboys home happy.

The game was a more wide open edition of the September matchup.  Dallas sustained its initial drive on the ground, alternating carries for DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones.  Once the Cowboys crossed mid-field, the Redskins pushed a ninth man into the box, and made runs very difficult.  The passing attack spent a half trying to find its way.  Dallas did conclude its second drive on a Romo to Dez Bryant combo pattern inside the right end zone pylon, but this came benefit of a short field, after a Fred Davis fumble at his own 28.

The offense struggled the rest of the half, Romo missing an open Laurent Robinson down the right sideline.  In the meantime, the punt return team took two costly penalties.  The second wiped out a return to the Dallas 31 and pulled the offense back to its own 5.   A three and out and a poor Matt McBriar punt set up Washington just outside the Cowboys 31 and they rolled in for a touchdown.  

On Dallas next punt, the coverage unit let down, allowing a long return to just outside the red zone.  Washington scored on a 16 yard pass to Donte Stallworth, with Stallworth shaking free from double coverage for the score.

Washington marched off a long drive to start the 3rd quarter, and nailed a field goal, pushing the lead to 17-10.

The Cowboys offense finally got untracked.  It used a missed Gano field goal as the springboard for a 14-play, 61 yard drive.  Murray converted a key 4th-and-1 running outside Tyron Smith for seven.  Romo then connected for the first time with Jason Witten for 15 yards.   Romo converted another 3rd down with a 7 yard pass to Murray on 3rd and 6, and three plays later, Romo spun left and found Laurent Robinson running a shallow cross inside the goal line.  Bailey’s conversion tied the game.

Dallas then seized the lead on the next drive.  Starting at his 12, Romo converted one first down with a 12 yard throw to Kevin Ogletree.  He saw a sideline pass tipped into the hands of Martellus Bennett on the following play, moving Dallas out to its 39.   Three plays later, Romo again did a spinerama left, to escape inside pressure, and found Witten mirroring his route deep downfield.  Witten caught the ball in stride, got an ole block from Dez Bryant and outraced DeAngelo Hall into the end zone.